Thursday, October 30, 2008

Using Funk to Get Out of the Funk

Last week, I wrote about what a funk I've been in. It is time to start climbing out of it. In addition to the usual plan of exercising, sleeping and trying to eat better (i.e. something more than Reese Cups) I have noticed that music really helps my mood. Now, if you would have asked me a few months ago what kind of music would lift my mood after a friend dies, I would have guessed that maybe U2 would help or how about the lyrics of the Indigo Girls. Nope. Wouldn't work for me this week. The only thing I can listen to? Prince and the funky music he creates. Now, I am not talking about the Prince songs you are probably remembering from the 80's. He has gone on to create some really cool, funky new music that would surprise most people that haven't listened to him since Little Red Corvette. There is just something about the horns, amazing piano and drum beats that he composes. It works for me.

Now, I listen to this funky music a lot and really loud. My poor children. It is hard to drive and sing and look respectable driving my silver minivan into the preschool (and church) parking lot. I like to dance and I do in my seat. Today, a woman from preschool followed me home the whole way. I was jamming and wondering what she thought I was doing.

So, I am going to recommend some cool Prince songs that you can sample on iTunes if you are feeling a little crazy or even down. They are sure to make you move your feet and stop feeling sorry for yourself. The song that keeps being played over and over again "Get on the Boat." You can't listen to it without moving. "The Word" is a slower funky cool song. I love the beat and his voice. And if you are still reading "Black Sweat" is just plain fun.

OK. I know Prince doesn't work for all and probably not most. What works for you? What do you listen to when are feeling down? I pulled up iTunes when I started writing this post and it is blaring "Black Sweat." Please excuse me while I get up and dance.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Almost Lost Him to the Royal Throne

Before I start talking about toilets, I wanted to say thank you for all of the love and support I received this week. Not only from the comments, but from the phone calls, emails and Facebook messages. At my sister's party last week, I opened up to a former supervisor. I told her "I have no idea why I blog. I sometimes think I will quit but then I can't stop." She then said "You must get something from it or you wouldn't take the time." She is right. This week, I got so much support from everyone. I know it is one reason I write. Thank you for taking the time to show your love and support. I felt it. Now back to toilets and laughter....

"Ewww! My hands are in the toilet! Ewww! My hands are in the toilet!" I screamed and yelled at my kids. While I had my hands in the toilet and screaming, I was really thinking I have to catch this stinken frog or my husband will kill me. I just paid $10 for this thing. I then realized that I should be more worried about my children losing their frog to the royal thrown. Ry and Kyle will cry if I don't catch the little bugger before it goes into the hole in the toilet. They raised him from a tadpole. It would be traumatic to lose him. Who knew aquatic frogs were so darn slippery? Then I yelled "I think I have him. Quick, grab the aquarium. I got it. I got him." The kids couldn't stop laughing at me. They couldn't wait to tell Daddy when he got home from work about Mom's hands in the toilet.

Ry's frog squeezed though the hole in his aquarium as I was emptying it out. There is a correct way to do it that was described in the froggy "how to booklet" but I couldn't find the plastic piece that I was supposed to use. I thought I could just tip it gently and I could keep the frog in the container. Nope. They are extremely fast and slippery. The frog is bigger than the hole. But he just slipped out. See the hole in the top of the dome in this picture below?

I washed my hands at least ten more times that night. I am a freak about germs and I still can't believe how long I had to fish around that toilet bowl to get that stinken frog. One of my friends at preschool told me the other day that I am a good mom for boys. We have three hermit crabs, three aquatic frogs, tons of fish, a dog and cat. Yep, I am a boys' kind of mom. A boys' kind of mom who better figure out a better way to clean out the aquarium or at least buy more Purell.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Long But Not Long Enough Goodbye

Dear Julie,

When I got the call, I didn't even cry. I have been crying for the past three months so much that I am pretty shocked that I didn't break down when I heard. But, I saw you last week. You looked so tired. So ready to go. I knew it would only be days. So when I got the call tonight, I didn't even have time to sit down. The kids were running around chasing each other with a weapon of some sort. The alarm on the stove was going off, the kids were screaming and I was trying to get details from my husband about your passing. Instead of my own pain, I just wondered how Joe was handling it and who had to call for the ambulance. Is that how it works? I have no idea.

We had big plans. We were going to go on a vacation again together. All of us. I am not sure if you knew it. My husband and I always talked how some summer, all of us from law school would rent a house in South Carolina on the beach. We'd put the kids down to bed and spend the nights talking and drinking wine. Maybe in a couple of years. Who knew we didn't have that long.

It has been a long goodbye. But the end was so quick. I thought there would be more off a battle but pancreatic cancer doesn't provide time for that. It has only been three months since you were diagnosed. I knew it would be a near impossible to beat pancreatic cancer. But, I thought we'd have more time.

Each night, we talk about you and your struggle. And each night my husband eventually falls asleep. I would lay there and pray for you and begged God to help you through this struggle. Last night I prayed for your family as they gathered around you to say goodbye. I never understood why the term "broken heart" came about until last night. As my husband slept beside me, I cried so hard that my heart hurt. I just couldn't believe you were leaving.

Dear friend, I hope they have a glass of Cabernet ready for you up in Heaven. You are free from pain now. This weekend we will celebrate your life. This will be one of the hardest weekends of my life. How do you say goodbye? I have no idea. But, I promise to gather around Joe, Robert and Suzy and shower them with our love and support. You were an incredible person with the best smile. I will never forget your laughter. You always made me smile and laugh.

We love you and we will never forget you my dear friend,


Wednesday, October 22, 2008


We've been a funk here in Indyworld. A real funk. My husband and I talk about it each night. We both know we are in one and we can't crawl out. Before I go any further, let's talk about how normal this funk is and that it's OK. Our friend Julie is slowly passing away. That would be enough to put anyone into a funk. The economy stinks and there is pressure to cut costs from our budget. It is tighter than ever. Funk! And election coverage doesn't help. Let's get this election over with now. Let's get it over before we get any funkier over here.

While I write this, my husband has decided he can be in a funk no longer. He is working out downstairs on our treadmill. I am taking a different approach. I am watching High School Musical on Disney and eating Reese Cups. My husband asked if I was working out with him. I told him I am going to remain in this funk for a little longer. I need to. I will come back up soon, but for now, I will watch bad TV, visit Facebook 1,000 times a day and do absolutely nothing. I need this now. I am recharging. I am tired of doing. I want the funk.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Am Not So Bad!

I was watching Live With Regis and Kelly last week. Regis wasn't there so Anderson Cooper filled in. I love Anderson Cooper. I do. He is great. Anyway. He was talking about one of his favorite shows, the Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo. Have you watched it? It is unbelievable. I have watched the other seasons of this show but this year, it is blowing me away. Not in a good way!

As I watched my first episode of the year, my husband walked in and kind of looked at me funny. What the heck am I watching? I was wondering too. Why is it fascinating to watch people like this? As I sat through the episode I thought about what Anderson Cooper said on Regis. He said that he watches because it makes you feel better about yourself. I get it. I understand what he means. As I sat there, I was thinking, "At least I am a better mom than that lady." "At least I am not so materialistic." "At least I can handle a kid's birthday party without a drink from the bar." Well, maybe not. Anyway, I am amazed that people live like this. With the rest of America worrying about the rising cost of food and the economy, it is hard to believe that there are women who have make-up artists and hairdressers at their house every morning.

So people, set you DVR just once in the next week. Make yourself watch just a smidgen. Watch as much as you can stomach. And reassure yourself that you are a good person. You have almost normal friends and you probably live a pretty normal life. No one would want to tape my life. And that it good thing.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

She's Always on my Mind

Last night, my sister had a Mount Union College Homecoming party and housewarming party. She now works at the College and bought a house in Alliance. We had a great time catching up with her friends, work colleagues, neighbors and important people in her life.

We drank sangria. We ate good food brought by friends. We caught up with one another. Throughout the night, I kept a secret from everyone. They wanted to know how life was treating me. What do I do with myself? How do I stay busy? How are the boys? McCain or Obama? How is Indy?

I couldn't tell them the truth. I couldn't even go into any details. I kept a smile on my face and kept up the small talk. But there was only one thing I was thinking about off and on. My good friend "Julie." She has pancreatic cancer and we just found out this weekend that the fight is almost over. She will be sent home for her last few days to be with her family. She has only days, maybe a couple of weeks to live.

We have traveled to the hospital in Columbus to see her. She wouldn't let us touch her for fear of germs. I just wanted to grab her and hug her and cry. I wanted to tell her how sorry I was and how much cancer "sucks." She wouldn't let us. She didn't know the fight was over when we visited her. Thank God I didn't know. I am not sure I could have gotten through the visit.

When I walked out of the room, I looked back one last time. I looked into her eyes. I knew it was the last time I would see her alive. I just knew it. She looked so scared.

So, in between all of the conversations and smiles on my face last night. My heart was breaking. My dear friend "Joe" will have to bury his soul mate before Thanksgiving. I just don't know how he is getting through this. I am four hours away and I can barely think of anything else. My prayers but not my tears are running dry. I ask God for peace and support for their family.

I have to be honest. You always hear "Life is short." But when it seems like everyone beats cancer and everyone lives until they are over 80, it doesn't seem like life is so short. The last few weeks have caused me to shift my perspective. I am enjoying my children a little more in the last few weeks. I try to not rush them and I sit and watch them more. I try to say yes more often. I am more patient with my husband. Little things don't bother me as much as they used to. My cat scratched my new curtains this weekend while we were gone. Did I care? Not at all. Honest. So much more important things to care about. It is just not important. People are important. Curtains? Not so much. So, I guess life is short afterall. I am learning. Thank you Julie for my lesson. I promise to never forget.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Too Much Skin in the Bathroom

"Are we heading the right way to the bathroom?" I asked.

"Yes, it's downstairs on the left."

OK. I walked into the bathroom and it was a sort of laundry room/ bathroom combo. A candle was lit. It was clean. They were expecting their guests to use this bathroom.

But guess what they left out? A big ol' stack of Playboys. Yep. Right across from the toilet on the dryer. I couldn't believe my eyes. They were stacked neatly and everything was dusted and clean around them. I thought maybe they were vintage. That would be kind of fun to see Playboys from the 50's. Nope. On the top, the most recent edition. Whoa!

Now, I am not one to really care if someone looks at Playboy. I worked at Waldenbooks in grad school. I saw a lot of pornography sold. Many were sold to people that seemed really normal and conservative looking. I don't want to get into a discussion about pornography. Not my thing. Hopefully not my husband's thing but apparently, our friend's thing.

We were at a clambake. They had about 30 people there. There were friends and relatives and WORK ASSOCIATES. They knew we were all coming. All of the lights were lit leading their guests to this bathroom. Why did they leave out their Playboys? Why did the wife let her husband leave out the Playboys? Just makes you wonder.

As my husband and I giggled our way out of the downstairs, we were both talking about how I had to write about this. If only I would have brought my camera to capture the whole picture. Well, not the whole picture.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Book Club Gone Wild

Dear Borders,

Is business really that good? Really?

On a busy Saturday afternoon, one of your employees hushed my small book club. Your employee said we were being too loud. We all looked at each other. Really? We are really that loud?

As we sat there in shock, we made plans for the next book club. Next month, it was already scheduled for a member's house. December, we better make it Panera. They won't care if we talk and laugh.

Usually, the book club walks around and selects books for the upcoming months. Can you say "Missed sales?" I won't be buying my next book club book at Borders. I am sure there would have been some coffee refills after the meeting. Cha ching. More missed sales. Ticked off ladies with Christmas season approaching rapidly. Can you say "Amazon. com?"

Before I left and before we got yelled out, I was dying to go and buy a tea and browse the bookstore. I even brought some coupons to use. But, you better believe that I made a quick get away after our book club snuck out quietly.

So Borders, is business really this good? Too good to let a book club talk and laugh on a busy Saturday in the cafe? You are not a library. And for years our book club hasn't had a problem at your store. Maybe it is because the economy is doing so well and your company doesn't need the support of book clubs. Shocking. We are one wild book club. Almost throw out of Borders!


A book lover who used to love Borders in Cleveland, Ohio

P.S. In true Indy letter writing fashion, I will be sure to send a copy of this letter to the store and their headquarters.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

All Alone At the Zoo

"I wonder how they know each other. Their toddlers look like they are Ryan's age. They are all talking. They all seem so close. Man, I wish I had some friends to go to the zoo with. I had friends at my last job but then I quit. It is so hard to make new friends. I've got to meet some other moms."

I remember the day like it was yesterday. This is pretty surprising because I have mommy brain and can't even remember what I did yesterday. So anyway, back to my day at the zoo. I was standing there by the elephants. Ryan was small. It was probably our first trip to the zoo. I stood near some moms who seemed to look and act a lot like me. Except, they were all friends and I was alone. I walked closer so I could hear them talk. Yep. They are good friends. And man, why don't I have any mommy friends?

Do you remember those days? I remember my first playgroup. I was worried because the moms would come for lunch back then. I obsessed for weeks about what to serve. Can you believe I cared? I worked hard on a homemade potato soup with crusty bread. And guess what? No one came. Everybody was sick. We were first time moms so it was probably a sniffle. We still get together six years later. But now, we do it on our own without the kiddos. We meet for dinner and drinks and catch up throughout the year.

I remember moving and meeting my new playgroup. I was so nervous to walk into the house. I had nothing to worry about. What a time saver that playgroup was for me. They had it all figured out. They knew what preschools were good, where to shop, what to do, where to go and they knew everybody. Thank goodness I joined that preschool PTA and sent in that playgroup form. I can't imagine my life without those women in it.

Time has changed and I was just invited to join another group of mothers. I have a strong group of friends and tend to take on too much so I am not sure I can add another group to my list right now. What a nice change this is. I am in a good place and feel so lucky that there are women that have gotten me though the baby, toddler and preschool years. Dear friends, thank you. We've grown and changed so much in the last six years. I am lucky to be able to call any of you up for a trip to the zoo and you'd be there.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Guess I Like to Write More Than I Like to Cut & Paste

OK. I need something positive up on my blog. The last post weighed heavily on my soul all day.

(Warning, if you are a scrapbooker, please, please, please keep reading past my first sentence. Don't give up on me.)

I am not a scrapbooker. At all. One Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me a huge kit with everything needed to create scrapbooks. This was during the time when EVERYONE was into it. Remember a few years ago? I tried to create a book. I just could not get into it. I worked on it. It wasn't pretty. I just couldn't put my heart and soul into it. So when my second child complains about not having a book (thank goodness he is a boy and hopefully will not care), I will try to explain that there was a huge fad going on in the U.S. I felt forced by mother's guilt to create these books even though it wasn't my type. I didn't stop creating the book for Kyle because I loved him any less or that he was my second born. It was because I did not care for the art of scrap booking. It just isn't my thing.

When it was Ryan's first birthday, I let go of the guilt and realized that I couldn't force myself to create these books. Just couldn't do it. So, I created a journal for him. The perfect part of this journal? I only had to write one time a year. Once. So, in this journal, I write a letter to each boy on their birthday. I write the names of their friends, the type of birthday they had, what they like to eat, what they are learning in school, their personality, words they say a little funny that I don't want to forget. Things like that. I often catch myself writing at other times. I try to write down their Christmas list or their favorite gifts from Santa. But, I am only allowed to guilt myself into writing one time a year. And you know what else? They aren't perfect books. They have a few pages of scribbles from Ryan as I tried to write when he was playing beside me. I write quickly and they are probably a bunch of misspellings without spellcheck. They are real and they are from the heart.

Here is an excerpt from his birthday letter when he was two:

You are such a sweet little boy. You are gentle but at the same time, you have a fun spirit. You love to laugh, be goofy and dance. You move your head to music that you hear and smile like crazy. You are always smiling.

I am so glad that I wrote it down! I was so tired with a newborn at this time that I am shocked that there is actually something written down and that I can read it.

God willing, I will give each child their book when their wife is pregnant or when they are ready for it if they don't have children. The book captured the beauty of their age and shows how much they were loved. Yes, just like scrapbooks do for the artists that create them.

So, before I was a "blogger" I was creating a special place for my boys to read about their lives. I had no idea that I would ever write so many stories on Blogger about our life. I won't give up their birthday books. Hopefully, I will print out these stories and add them to their birthday books when they are ready. This is a hobby I can stick with. No guilt needed.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More to Give

As many of you know, one of our dear law school friends has pancreatic cancer. "Julie" is 4 hours away from us. She's had a bad week. She is in the hospital with pneumonia and blood clots. The battle continues. We wanted to go and visit this weekend but we couldn't reach anyone. Their voicemail box was full. No one responded on their Caringbridge site and cell phones were off.

We felt so helpless. We've offered to help with the kids. We've offered to do anything. They say that they have enough help. They have a million people helping them. When I read the thank you's on their message board, I often wonder, what are these people doing to help? I wish I knew. What am I missing? I want to help them get though this. I want to help them to help ME get through this.

We also have a local friend that was just diagnosed with cancer. I can be more involved with this family because they are local. I am kept up to date by friends and I am active in trying to help in any way I can. As a group, we are working together to cover meals, babysitting, play dates, surprises and support.

It occurred to me today that although I can't be there for Julie as much as I need to, someone else is down there in Dayton pitching in. Just like we are here for our local friend. Our local friends have friends from all over the world who probably feel as helpless as I do with Julie.

I am trying to focus on what I can do to help while being 4 hours away. All we can really do is pray. I honestly have never prayed in my whole life as much as I have in the last month. I am sometimes in a constant dialogue asking for support for her husband, the children, the friends, her parents and for Julie. I ask for a miracle. I am praying with everything I have. I honestly didn't know I had it in me to pray this much. Once again, I ask you to skip the comments but take the time to say a small prayer for not only Julie but my local friend with cancer. Miracles are needed. And that's something I can work on being hours away.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Your Dollar is Worth Something

Six coffees at Starbucks.

Twelve cups of tea at Starbucks.

Two shirts at Target.

Dinner at Denny's on Kids Eat Free Night (Tuesdays and Saturdays).

One and 1/2 visits to McDonalds for you and your kids.

Five issues of People Magazine.

Movie tickets and a popcorn for you and your hubby.

A hardcover book from Borders.

My late fees at my local library.

What do all of the items listed above have in common? They all cost about $25. It doesn't go far. Right? It does. It really does.


Check out

Kiva is an amazing organization that helps people around the world loan money to help others. We're not talking about crazy Washington politics here. We're talking about an organization that helps the world's poorest people. These people are too poor to apply for loans from banks. And instead of that relative that never returns the $25 you lent him last year, the people on Kiva pay you back. Yes, they pay you back.

I was just paid back last week. I nearly forgot about lending the money. I lent it last year. The best past for me was relending it. I didn't have to worry about spending the money again. I already spent it last year. When I first joined Kiva, I offered a loan to a Mexican man. He wrote on the Kiva site:

"I urgently need to add another room to my home and install a floor because my family needs more space. My home is very small and only has 2 rooms: the living room, a bathroom and a kitchen. I am asking for $1000 to build a room and lay a floor."

So, my $25 was added to money from others to help reach his $1000. He then paid it back in installments throughout the year.

My next $25 was loaned to a woman from Cambodia. On the site its states that the woman and her husband were married in 1997 and have three children: one daughter and two sons. One of her sons is in school.

The woman has been a silk weaver for nine years, a skill she learned from her sister-in-law. She sells her finished products to the middle man in the village, who takes them to sell in Phnom Penh, while her husband drives a horse cart to haul dirt for leveling house foundations. Now, she is requesting a loan of $250 to purchase cows for raising.

Money is tight for everyone. I don't have a lot of money to give to just any organization that moves me. This organization is different. Kiva states that it empowers the world's poor. You can help change the life of someone with a few clicks of your mouse. I can't tell you how satisfying it was for me to be repaid for this loan. It was the best $25 I have spent in a long time. I often feel so blessed and wish I could do more to help others. This site helps you do just that. It connects you to real people with real needs. I can skip a few visits to Starbucks and Target to pay for a loan that changes people's lives. And they pay you back. Amazing.

I'm Not Talking About It, I'm Just Saying...